Local Festival of Faiths Emphasizes a Unifying Belief in Peace


Nadya Ellerhorst

A quartet of dancers perform Cameroonian song and dance in traditional costume. A variety of performances occurred throughout the festival, demonstrating an impressive array of faiths and cultures.

From atheist to devout follower, people of a myriad of faiths convened on Sept. 8 at the Xavier University Cintas Center for the second annual Cincinnati Festival of Faiths, organized by EquaSion. The event consisted of booths, faith-related activities, special performances and complimentary food provided by a Sikh “Guru ka Langar,” or community kitchen.

The event contained a variety of cultural and religious activities open to all, regardless of their heritage or beliefs. Certain stations allowed attendees to try on a Sikh turban or Muslim hijab. Visitors could have their names written in Urdu script, and have intricate henna tattoos done. Various conference rooms were transformed into meditation areas and discussion spaces, and the texts of the three Abrahamic faiths were on display for curious guests to examine.

Nadya Ellerhorst
Festival-goers try on traditional Sikh turbans and learn of its significance to the Sikh faith.

Regional faith organizations supervised booths with information regarding their belief systems and practices. While there were booths for each of the five major world religions, some faiths less heard-of in the Cincinnati area were also represented, including Zoroastrianism, Paganism and Bahá’í. Walking through the rows of booths, visitors received warm welcomes and an eagerness to answer any questions they had about the faiths unfamiliar to them. The booths weren’t limited to religions, however. Various social organizations, such as Moms Demand Action, Habitat For Humanity and Lighthouse Youth Services oversaw their own tables, and discussed their missions with curious passersby.

Amid the bright tables and displays, a stage at the far end of the convention center was host to a variety of performers illustrating the diverse cultures and faiths of the Cincinnati area. Dancers of Indian and Cameroonian descent took to the stage, performing in traditional garb to the music of their country of heritage. Additionally, the Cincinnati Area CME Mass Choir offered a spirited performance of gospel music that thoroughly entertained attendees with its electrifying energy. 

The festival’s activities weren’t limited to the inside of the center, however. Near its entrance, members of the Cincinnati Sikh community provided hungry festival-goers with free food. This sense of unconditional giving was furthered by a blood drive, hosted by the Hoxworth Blood Center, and Freestore Food Bank donation barrels that were placed next to the entrance.

The beauty of the event did not lie solely in the many colorful tables and activities, but rather in the strong sense of community felt among people of a variety of differing beliefs and cultures. In a time where we hear of acts of violence and hatred toward certain groups, the event was a comforting reminder of the potential for peace and understanding through one festival, one booth and one friendly smile at a time.

Nadya Ellerhorst
Members of the Cincinnati area Sikh community offer attendees complimentary food from a “Guru ka Langar,” or community kitchen. Nearby, a Hoxworth Blood Center truck collected blood donations.